Dear Poly Dude: Where Do I Find a Primary?

Dear Poly Chick/Poly Dude is a collection of anonymous queries that have been submitted by people through the Site, our Facebook page or Email. The answers provided are our opinions, formed through years of being immersed in polyamory. Take our advice with a grain of salt (or pepper). We have no boundaries, so ask us anything! If you want a Chick-specific or Dude-specific answer, let us know; otherwise, we’ll surprise you!


Dear Poly Dude,

I’m a single poly man interested in finding a primary. Where do I meet poly women that aren’t married (or already with a primary)?


It can feel really exciting to start looking for a partner once you’ve decided you want a primary. Setting out to find a partner can be invigorating and empowering at first, but as you start your search it can get discouraging quickly.


Let’s say we have a method to find the perfect person to be your primary. First, you go through a mental checklist to see what type of partner will meet your needs. They must be intelligent, funny, caring, laid back, beautiful, and be able to keep up with you and your buddies in a belching contest; check. Next, it’s time to focus inwardly. You figure out what you want out of life and what you can offer a partner. You know exactly what your strengths, weaknesses and quirks are and know how to relate them to someone else. You get in shape. You clean the apartment and start reading books you uncovered in a box deep in your closet. Then, after buying some new clothes to show off the new, leaner physique, you have your self-confidence all shined up and are ready to start the search.


Then, after tapping all of the typical dating websites and social circles, you’re right back to where you started. Oh sure, you put in a good effort. This was, after all, the time you were going to do it right! Yet, here you are. Does any of this sound familiar? You couldn’t find anyone in the normal places and don’t know where else to look; you went on a few dates with people that met your ‘criteria’, but they just didn’t pan out. Worse yet, you met the most awesome person in the world who looks like they can meet your needs, except they already have a primary!


Here’s the thing; I’m going to take the little kid gloves off for a second. It’s not them, it’s you; or rather, it’s how you’re going about trying to form relationships. Try something for me: Think about your best friend. How did you meet? Did you sit in your room and write lists of ‘turn-ons’ and ‘turn-offs’, spend countless hours pondering what it is you want a best-friend to bring you, then go to a website to find the person who would meet all of your expectations? Did you go to a bunch of meet-ups and wait in line to talk to the coolest looking guys and scurry into the chair across from them as soon as it opened up so you could tell them “just how cool they look” and “I’m a really cool guy too.  I know you’re totally going to be my best friend some day!” Did you send them some awkward messages that don’t even sound like you and ask to ‘meet up’? This is supposed to be the one friend you KNOW you can call from a jail cell in Mexico, no questions asked. Seeking a best friend this way is ridiculous, yet this is how so many of us try to find a partner. I should know, I tried this method and failed miserably.


Sure, there is a copout way to answer your question. I could give you a list of all the polyamorous potlucks, cocktail parties, meetups, support groups and online communities known to the interwebs. But I respect you, so I won’t give you the copout answer.


To find a primary is to find a best friend. How do you find a best friend? I think you already know the answer. We’ve all done it (at least all of us who haven’t at one point asked someone to ‘put the lotion on it’s skin’).  We find our best friends when we do the things we’re passionate about. We seek out people who share our joys and philosophies.  When we do the things we love and focus on making ourselves happy, we become the most desirable people we can be. We find others who think in similar or complementary ways. They are the people who don’t sugar coat things in order to win our favor. They are the ones who trust us enough to be vulnerable. They are the ones we feel the most connected to. We find these people because we are being ourselves.


There are billions of people on this planet. The people you seek are all around you. I can’t guarantee you a lifelong mate, but I can tell you that your best chance of finding one is to stop trying so hard to look for one. Be yourself. Do the things that enrich you and make you happy. Hang out with people in communities made up of like-minded individuals. Meet people with the intention of making best friends and you are well on your way to finding the loving relationship(s) you seek. This is not a “method”; this is how humans have behaved for ages.



  1. Michael
    Apr 23, 2013

    I think the quick answer is this.. the best way to find a primary partner, is to NOT LOOK FOR one… just go forth, interact, use your social skills, and just develop friendships.. eventually a friendship may develop into a primary situation.
    Like in all things in the Poly lifestyle.. when you enter into a situation with an expectation (like finding a primary) you’re setting yourself up for disappointment..

  2. Red Panda
    Apr 23, 2013

    Seconded. You find the best partners when you’re focused on going out and having a blast, doing stuff you’re passionate about, and hanging out with people that you vibe with. NOT usually when you’re looking for a partner.

    Rather than LOOKING for a primary, be OPEN to romance.

  3. Terry
    Apr 23, 2013

    As Red said, be open to romance and DON’T reject potential relationships simply because they would be with you as a secondary. Like many things, it is almost all about ‘networking’ and the connections you can make through these secondary relationships are very valuable. Forming lasting relationships, even as a secondary, can build your reputation as a caring, loving person; word of good people DOES get out.

    And do forget essentially all the lists!

    hugs all!

  4. Eponine
    Apr 23, 2013

    Awesome advice! And it doesn’t only apply to polys who want to find a primary; ANYONE who wants to look for a partner should read it.

  5. Karyn
    Apr 24, 2013

    I find all the best people especially when I’m not looking. There have even been times I was actively giving up on the search that I found the best people, simply by going out and having fun with friends. It’s amazing what throwing away the bullet point list of requirements in a mate does to open up the possibilities to real people, who really aren’t a list of bullet points. Think about it this way…could you make up a bullet point list of your best friend that comes anywhere near as long as the one you have for a potential mate? When people ask me to describe someone, I’m usually saying, “Smart, short brown hair, super cute, sweet as hell….uh…uh.” And that’s as far as the list gets. Not because they don’t have 1000 awesome features, but because the whole package of awesome doesn’t boil down to bullet points.

    • admin
      Apr 24, 2013

      I think you hit the nail on the head with this: “open up the possibilities to real people, who really aren’t a list of bullet points” :-)

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